End of the Road for Speed Traps?

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Politicians, driver advocacy groups and even the police are trying to outlaw speed traps, not only because they’re annoying, but because when speed limits are too low, roads become more — not less — dangerous.

Most drivers understand the need for speed limits. And yet they loathe speed traps — the road sections where speed limits suddenly decrease, and where the chances of unknowingly exceeding the speed limit therefore increase. There are generally solid reasons why the speed limits dip so precipitously; often, it’s because the road cuts through a town where there’s likely to be pedestrian traffic or kids on bikes. But sometimes, drivers are mystified by why a road’s speed limit drops, leading many to believe the purpose is mainly to make it easier for police officers to hand out speeding tickets, which generate revenue for the state or municipality.

Columnists and bloggers have been sharing lists warning about the worst speed traps in cities like Denver and Salt Lake City, and years ago the National Motorists Association (NMA) launched speedtrap.org, a speed-trap-information-exchange site that was just upgraded to make it easier for drivers to find out about hot spots for police handing out speeding tickets.

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In several states, there’s now a push to help motorists avoid getting busted in speed traps that goes beyond mere warnings. The goal is to change the law and get rid of speed traps. In Michigan, state senator Rick Jones, a Republican from Grand Ledge and a 30-year law-enforcement veteran, has proposed that state speed limits be raised to as high as 80 m.p.h. (up from the current 70 m.p.h.) and that limits should be set not by the whims of local politicians but with the assistance of road experts and traffic studies. Specifically, Jones thinks speed limits should be set according to the “85th-percentile rule,” which stipulates that the limit be established as the speed that 85% of drivers travel.

“Politicians should never set speed limits,” said Jones. “That’s how you get speed traps. It should be done scientifically by the Michigan state police or the police in areas where a study is done.”

A Detroit News editorial endorsed Jones’ plan to kill “revenue-raising speed traps that unfairly target drivers,” noting that similar proposals (and higher speed limits) in states like Texas and Wyoming have not resulted in higher accident rates, nor in substantially higher average car speeds. The endorsement also quoted the leader of the National Motorists Association, which has long argued that in fact higher, more reasonable speed limits actually make roads safer:

‘Establishing posted speed limits in accordance with the 85th-percentile speed is one of the most important traffic-safety tenets,’ says Gary Biller, president of the NMA. ‘By doing so, the differential speed among vehicles on the road is minimized, and it is differential speed that can be a major factor in causing accidents.’

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Perhaps surprisingly, the police have also come out in favor of higher speed limits in Michigan, basically agreeing with the NMA’s take that it’s safest when cars are driving at roughly the same speeds. “With artificially low speed limits we put police in a position of actually ticketing safe drivers,” said Lieutenant Gary Megge of the Michigan State Police Traffic Services. He’s pushing for Jones’ 85th-percentile rule because “I want to see drivers traveling within a 10-m.p.h. band of one another,” and said if police aren’t spending their time handing out unnecessary speeding tickets, they could focus on more important issues, like watching out for drunk drivers.

Less surprisingly, a CBS station in Detroit hosted an Internet poll asking if drivers support or oppose an 80 m.p.h. statewide speed limit, and thus far about two-thirds of voters are in favor.

In Illinois, drivers are welcoming a recently enacted law allowing speed limits up to 70 m.p.h. (up from the current 65 m.p.h.) on highways in rural areas. “It’s a no-brainer,” one driver told the Chicago Tribune. “Increase the speed limit. Everyone already drives about 80 m.p.h. on the highway. A lot of other states already have higher speed limits, and it seems to work for them.”

An initiative to up the speed limit in Wisconsin is also getting ample local support. “State residents like to think of Wisconsin as progressive,” an editorial in Wisconsin’s Janesville Gazette reads. “We remain in the slow lane and even backward, however, on interstate speeds.” The piece argues that the current 65-m.p.h. limit is “an archaic roadblock for motorists,” and that bumping it up to 70 m.p.h. would be a step in the right direction, without putting more people in jeopardy. “Vehicles keep getting safer, more people are wisely buckling up, and traffic deaths per mile driven have been falling,” the article states.

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Not everyone agrees with this assessment, however. Some maintain that it’s dead wrong and downright dangerous to raise speed limits and encourage drivers to step on the gas. “Raising speed limits is politically popular, and higher speed limits get people to their destinations faster,” Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said to the Chicago Tribune concerning the changes to speed limits in Illinois. “But we have to recognize there’s always a safety trade-off. There’s no free lunch. And more people will die on the roads as a result.”

78 comments
DaManny
DaManny

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adr5
adr5

I was really liking Rick Jones till he said police should set speed limits.   While they would do a better job than politicians, they won't do the best job.   Speed limits should be set by traffic engineers, not policemen or politicians.

_Sheepster_
_Sheepster_

@SENSEBC Regardless, rest assured politicians/people will not follow the lead from ANYTHING "back east" unless it's a new taxation idea

roggy
roggy

Nanny Bloomberg just got NYC to install 21 cameras in school zones to issue speeding tickets. Not a bad idea until you find out that the cameras run 24 hrs, 7 days a week. Thus you have a pure revenue grab. The claim of safety is a scam, like all speed traps.

ElfOdin
ElfOdin

When the speed limits are raised on highways, that will be an easy way to spot the fools with money: they'll be the ones who can afford to waste gasoline.

stso9daa
stso9daa

Then what on earth  will Sherwood, AR police do?  Local t-shirt for sale: Welcome to Sherwood, License and Registration Please

Onepatriot
Onepatriot

Oh sure, let all these kids texting and driving go a little faster why don't we.  We don't have enough people losing their lives now?No one needs to drive over 60.  It's a safe speed and isn't  that the idea; to get there in one piece?  At 70 mph, you're not going to get there much faster, and you'll get better gas mileage, with less air pollution..

HRPufnstuf
HRPufnstuf

There's no such thing as a "Speed Trap."  In order to be a trap, there has to be some kind of bait. No one is baiting drivers to speed. And talking about " the road sections where speed limits suddenly decrease...."   umm... what do you mean "suddenly?"

Are you talking about where a sign says "Reduce speed ahead" and then down the road is a 10 MPH reduction in speed?  What do you want, 55,  54,  53,  52,  and like that, until it gets to 45?  

Besides, the speed limits are set by traffic engineers at the Department of Transportation, usually County or State level. The local police have NOTHING to do with setting the limits, only with enforcing them.  

Like everything else, if you don't like a law work within the law to change it, or be prepared to suffer the consequences. 


SteveDoner
SteveDoner

One thing that is important to safe high speed driving is to keep right except to pass. 

Many states have laws on this but few enforce them.

OnemoreFakefbpage
OnemoreFakefbpage

Most everyone seems to judge a "safe speed" to be the speed they can drive at, when everything is optimal. Few people consider how they will be able to control their vehicle if they have a blow-out or their gearbox grenades or if they lose an axle.

I was not thinking such things one night, as most of a truck tire went under my Corvette, jamming the suspension of my right front wheel & I swerved violently across the lane next to me on the freeway.

When you have a catastrophic failure in the control of your vehicle, is that speed limit a safe speed to travel ?

RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

Speed limmits at 60 mph are rediculously inviting road disasters... I´ve lived on Stateside and I`ve lived in in West European countries... I now livew on th island of Gran Canaria where traffic is "flowing"... I haven´t heard of or seen road death in years.... The open road is the "open road"... speed is open and slows down where necessary... Spaniads are (probably) better "self disciplined" than Americans... in any way better than Dutch driver who always think "They own the road"... and a pedestrian or bicyclest a nuisance.... Even the French are behaving far better.. altho alway in a hurry...

So.. ?? Why speed limmits below 85, 90 mph ?? It only holds up traffic for no reason except in emergeancies.... BUT as legislators have their own silly reasons I will step asside and open up where there isn´t even a rat on the road... day or nite... If there is one.. I will slow down so he/she will not be swooped up by my dragwind....  Donah..//

thebax
thebax

Russ Rader seems to have a hard time reading statistics! He claims raising the speed limit will cause more accidents/deaths even though the results in many states is just the opposite. If he relates "no free lunch" to road statistics he should be in the food business...not the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety!! He reminds me of the Feds resisting new Marijuana Laws because they all remember "Reefer Madness"!

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

More about Chicago and why the new 70 mph Illinois limit should apply to the metro area...

The recently signed 70 mph speed-limit bill begins to undo the damage done by the national 55 mph limit established in 1973.  Illinois had a 70 mph speed-limit 40 years ago and it was not just for rural interstates.  Most state highways, even two-lane highways, had limits higher than the 55 mph still in place on metro Chicago’s interstates.

After reading the recent Illinois speed-limit bill and discussing it with sponsor Jim Oberweis, it is clear to me that the bill was intended to cover, and should apply to, metro Chicago for the same reasons that it makes sense downstate.  The speed-limit for all metro Chicago interstates will revert to 70 mph unless IDOT produces an engineering study proving the new limit unsafe.  County boards may also be able to block the new limit.

If IDOT abides by the traffic engineering principles espoused by other transportation and police departments across the country and around the world, it is nearly certain that the findings would dictate a speed-limit of 70 mph (or higher) for metro Chicago expressways, with the possible exception of those inside the city limits. 

IDOT and the county boards should stand aside and allow metro Chicago limits to revert to 70 mph.  All the evidence indicates that there would be no negative impact on safety.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Overall metro Chicago highway safety would be improved.  Here’s why:

1.      Nearly 90% of fatalities occur on secondary roads.  Only 11% of fatalities occur on Illinois interstates, including metro Chicago.  So, those big fatality counting signs over the tollways are telling us about the risk after we exit.

2.      Higher speed-limits on interstates help draw traffic away from secondary highways which are more dangerous, thus increasing overall road safety.  This is always a key point, but even more-so in metro Chicago since roads like Interstate 355 and Interstate 294 charge tolls.  There is already a big incentive to take the more dangerous secondary highways such as old 53 and Route 59 for example.

3.      For decades, traffic engineers have promoted establishment of speed-limits based on 85th percentile speeds – the maximum speed at which 85% of motorists travel when unencumbered by traffic or enforcement.  Well informed state police and transportation departments around the world advocate this approach.  The position taken by IDOT is inconsistent with its peers.

4.      Speed-limits have very little impact on the pace of faster traffic – most drivers, including the police, ignore under (and over) posted limits.

5.      When limits are under-posted there is one group of drivers who travel at careful and prudent speeds and another group which tries to adhere more closely to the law. Higher interstate speed-limits improve safety by reducing speed variance, road rage and weaving. 

6.      Under-posted speed-limits breed disrespect for all laws, especially traffic laws.  This leads to speeding in construction zones and on secondary roads and other bad behavior.  When IDOT has no credibility on speed-limits it reduces their credibility on warnings about texting, cell phone usage, etc.

7.      Under-posted speed-limits leave drivers bored, unengaged and distracted.  Since driving does not demand their full attention, drivers talk on the phone and even text while driving…because they can.  Texting is probably not an issue on the autobahn.

8.      Even with increased speed-limit, Illinois interstates and other highways are still posted at or below the limits which were in place in 1973 (pre-55).  Since then, the handling capability and safety equipment on vehicles has improved dramatically such that limits of 80+ should be the norm for rural interstates as in many other parts of the industrialized world.  An increase to 70 should not be cause for any concern.

9.      Insurers and others who profit from speeding tickets tend to cite studies which count the raw number of fatalities rather than looking at the rate per mile driven.  The actual fatality rate has fallen steadily for decades during times of both rising and falling speed-limits.

10.   Higher limits reduce congestion and may actually save fuel by allowing drivers to keep a steadier pace.

One final point makes this a rather urgent matter for Chicago area drivers.  Beginning 1/1/14, unlucky drivers who “go with the flow” of average traffic speeds could end up paying a $1,500 fine and go to prison for 6 months.  If nothing changes, that will be the penalty for going 81 mph in metro Chicago (26 over the 55 limit). 

This Class B Misdemeanor penalty would be ok if the speed-limit was 70 mph.  In that case, 96 mph could lead to jail time.  With heavy-handed penalties like this, it is absolutely critical that Chicago area interstate speed-limits be set properly.  We all know the 55 limit is a bad joke and the notion of going to jail for 81is asinine.  It’s time we put an end to it.

Steve Doner

Former Illinois Chapter Coordinator

National Motorists Association

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

The entire metro Chicago area is a speed trap.  Roads designed for safe travel at 80 mph are still posted at 55.  Unless the new 70 mph IL limit applies to Chicago, effective 1/1/14 it will be a crime to go 81 in the area.  Penalty is 6 mo in prison and a $1500 fine.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@roggy And remember, speed cameras produce profits ONLY when the posted limits are arbitrarily set far below the speeds that most people find safe and comfortable - AND which really are safe and comfortable.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@Onepatriot When most Interstates were built in the late 1950s and 1960s, states were required to engineer the roads in non-mountainous rural areas AND post them for at least 70 mph limits (or higher), or they would not get the federal matching funds to build them. Since the federal funds were usually 90% of the cost, no state could afford not to follow the rules.  The actual 85th percentile speeds were about 70.  Today, 50+ years later, the actual and very safe 85th percentile speeds are about 80 and they should be posted that way.


James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

roggy
roggy

@Onepatriot so would you agree to drivers being ticketed for driving well below the speed limit and those who drive in the passing lane at or below the speed limit?

adr5
adr5

@HRPufnstuf you are naive if you think traffic engineers set all the speed limits.   It is pretty easy to see this.  On a day with ideal conditions during non-rush hour traffic hop on the road and in the right lane drive at the speed limit.  If the limits is correctly set very few cars will pass you.   If you get a lot of cars passing you, then that tells you the speed limit is set incorrectly.   The other thing to keep in mind is that a limit should be as the name implies, the upper safe limit to drive at.   Unfortunately because the limits are set so low many folks are no interpreting the limit to be the recommended travel speed.  Driver get so used to that that when road conditions change they don't adjust their speed and you end up with accidents that would not have happened if the driver had not be conditioned to always driving at the speed limit.

jefnvk
jefnvk

@HRPufnstuf A speed trap is where local officials have decided three-lane in each direction roads separated by a 100' wide separator should be traveled at 25MPH, i.e., a speed almost no one would feel is necessary to drive to remain safe.  That is the purpose behind the 85% rule.  Yes, you will always have some idiot that will drive as fast as he can.  Once you reach the 85th percentile, you are well into the range where those drivers are performing in a safe envelope.


As someone who races cars, who has a meticulously maintained Mustang, I find a 70MPH limit to be artificially low, even if I do follow it.  Somewhere around 85 is still well withing a safe limit for me.  Heck, having driven in Europe in well maintained German cars, I can say 100+ is easily safe for me on a wide open highway.


Just because you only feel safe doing 55 on the interstate, doesn't mean the rest of us can't do much more safely.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@HRPufnstuf In Michigan, the highest speed limits on freeways are arbitrarily set by the legislators, very few of which have any training in traffic safety engineering.  

Limits on state highways up to the statutory limits, including within cities, are set by the State Police and MDOT.  On county roads they are set by the State Police and the county road authorities. In most places, if the limit should be at or below the arbitrary statutory limits - they are set properly to maximize safety in Michigan.

Cities can set limits within their jurisdictions according to state laws, but many cities openly defy state laws and set limits arbitrarily lower than the state laws allow to create more ticket revenue.  If you know how, you can challenge the illegally set limits and win, but most people don't know how or won't take the time to do the research.

A speed trap is anywhere the posted limit is set well below the actual, normal, safe speeds of operation.  Speed traps are very common nationwide and facilitate a multi-billion dollar speeding ticket and insurance surcharge industry.  Senator Jones bill is working to end this predatory practice.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

jefnvk
jefnvk

@SteveDoner YES.  IMHO, you need to roll that law out a few months before raising the limit, and enforce it HARD.


In all honesty, I simply drive in the right lane anymore, never anyone in it....

Openminded1
Openminded1

@SteveDoner all states need to have semi trucks stay in the slow lane at all times except tp pass ans limit there speed to less then 70 on every interstate.

boguem
boguem

@OnemoreFakefbpage Using that logic, 10 MPH would probably be the only safe speed.  Whether you lose an axle at 55 or 85, you're very likely not going to be able to control your vehicle down to a dead stop.  The problem with your logic is, how often does a catastrophic failure of a major component (axle, engine, transmission) occur?  I don't recall very many vehicles sitting on the side of the road with only two wheels still intact...

jefnvk
jefnvk

@OnemoreFakefbpage Do you really think that traveling at 70MPH instead of 80MPH "just in case" would have really helped much? Someone could always cut me off and slam on their brakes in front of me, should I never go above 30 "just in case"?  Almost any speed in which a catastrophic accident happens is bound to injure you, yet, most will go through their lives without any such incident.

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@OnemoreFakefbpage Assuming catastrophic failure of your car -- ie: the engine literally falls out from underneath you -- do you really think it's going to make any significant difference whether you're going 60 or 70 mph?  If you're only 5 feet from the median, EITHER is "too fast" in such a horrible circumstance.  Changing the speed won't help appreciably.


But it CAN affect things in other circumstances.  How much danger is added when one car is going the (slow) speed limit, and another faster car swerves unexpectedly to go around?  How many accidents are caused by tailgating?  If we could reduce the number of such occurrences by having more of traffic traveling at about the same speed, we'd prevent a lot of accidents.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@OnemoreFakefbpage For 70+ years, traffic safety researchers have shown the safest speed limits to post are the 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions.  Posting limits below those levels on the basis of rare "it might happen" events does NOT slow most traffic, it just makes the speed variance and crash risks higher.


James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

One reason.  We turned back the clock in 1973 and 40 year later are still inching back to sanity.  Before choosing a vacation destination and route I check the speed limit chart...including 2 lane roads.  Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio (among others) are boycotted.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@thebaxRuss Rader and the IIHS lobby for the lowest posted speed limits they think they can trick the politicians into posting.  This improper advocacy supports the predatory multi billion dollar industry of speeding tickets and high insurance surcharges to safe drivers for the "dastardly crime" of driving safely along with the normal safe traffic flow.  It is a vicious for-profit racket that reduces safety, but it is VERY VERY profitable to insurance companies.


It is why ALL posted speed limits should be set only by trained traffic safety engineers with no political or financial incentives to do the wrong things to support the multi-billion dollar speeding ticket industry.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

Openminded1
Openminded1

@SteveDoner well said and posted steve with some exceptions on point 4. as a retired 30 year police veteran i will tell you cops to not ignore people driving to slow nor driving to fast. there is a happy medium. Move with the flow, the only problem with a speed limit of 80 is the morons who are always driving to fast even in parking lots and school zones will do 90 plus and at 90 plus you get ablaow out or have an accicent you most likely are killing yourself or some other motorist or wiping out a whole family. As for Semi-drivers the posted speed limit should be 10 to 15 miles per hour less. When a semi is involved in a high speed crash it is most certain death for someone other then the semi driver. So many of your points were well taken but lets not go overboard. 70 in rural areas fine not 80 and certainly not around any of the loops of Chicago or near O'hare or any urban parts of the city. far north or far south as well aseast and west of downtown maybe .

RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

@SteveDoner ...if  Americans cannot and never will be able to command a car then they should be prohibited at birth to own .. let alone .. drive any one, two or multiple whieeld vehicle.... Donah..//

JeffFrank
JeffFrank

@SteveDoner Is it even POSSIBLE to go 80 mph on a Chicago interstate?  Whenever I'm in the city I-94 is a parking lot, regardless of the time of day.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jefnvk @HRPufnstuf There is a happy medium 100 way off base here in the united states and 60 to slow. 75 on rural hwy"s is a good mark, and within major city limits 60 is prudent. Not everyone young old man women drive the same or use the same caution or have the same ability so some limit has to be set that is reasonable and prudent with conditions permitting .

thomasds87
thomasds87

@jefnvk@HRPufnstufI'm not against raising the speed limit, but I'm also really not in favor -- mainly because of the consequences that it may lead to. 

While seat belts have been proven to increase survival rates in automobile accidents in many cases,  they also have a margin of effectiveness, too. You raise the speed limits to 85MPH, you may very well extend the seatbelt beyond its safety margin and therefore render it completely useless in aiding in automobile accidents -- simply because the human body may not be able to handle the impact of an accident itself, not to mention the increase in damage to the vehicle that will result after an 85MPH crash in comparison to a 65 MPH or 70 MPH crash.

Then compound that with the fact that not everybody on the road should have a license, so with increased speeds they become an even greater safety hazard, plus we have teens on the road who are glued to their phones texting causing even more accidents -- even with the laws currently in place to stop texting and driving.

Also have to mention that with as many drivers on the road who feel the need to go at least 5-10 MPH over any posted speed limit, now you take an 85MPH zone and got a guy who's now doing 90-95MPH. Accident survival rate at that speed is almost 0% -- regardless of any safety measures taken -- unless you're a race car driver, but then again not all of us are race car drivers or have HANS devices in our cars.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@JenniferBonin @OnemoreFakefbpage you are not considering reaction time and braking time at 60 for an example as opposed to 70 the stopping distance could make the difference of life and death or even having an accident at all. Everyone's reaction time is different you made some good points but my 30 years as policemen i have seen way to many deaths do to speed and losing control because of speed. No one needs to drive faster then 85 at any time. I have been in high speed chases at over 100mph and have seen what happens when a car loses control blows a tire at those speeds it is death 99% of the time.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@JamesWalker1 @OnemoreFakefbpage under good conditions is a key point james. but there are many morons out there who do not slow down during adverse conditions. a speed limit of 75 anywhere in rural out of major cities is ok. speeds limits of 80 or higher tell the morons its ok to do 100 and at 100 in a crash someone dies for sure.

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

Thanks Openminded1.  I must say that of all those involved in this process (lawmakers and police) that it is usually the polce who are the most sensible. Typically I see them cruise at around 70 in the area (like on I-294 and I-355).  I doubt if many would give a ticket for below 70 unless the driver was acting like an idot.  I would be in favor of lower limits near the loop (maybe 55 in the current 45 zones) and 65 inside the city limits (which would pick up Ohare).  In general I would advoate for rural at 75-80 urban at 65-70 and 55-60 for places like the Dan Ryan downtown.  Ideally all regulated by properly conducted 85th percentile meaurements. The new law is a step in the right direction.  Frankly the 24 over rule make this fairly urgent because half the drivers I see on a daily basis are eligible for a stay at the retired governors mansion (prison).  Yes, 81 is speeding, but when half the cars say its reasonable & prudent I hardly think prison is fair or just.

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

You must be from the EU.  As drivers we stink as a nation. 

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

When and where congestion is heavy then traffic speed self regulates to a much lower speed - even to parking lot status as you say.  However, for those doing a reverse commute the situation is different.  And, virtually every route is clear at certain times of day.  Speed limits should set for ideal conditions.  I happen to have a reverse commute right now.  Its 60 miles one way and the slow cars are doing 65-75 while faster traffic is between 75 and 85.  There are a very few above and below those descriptions, but it is a very small number. 

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@thomasds87 @jefnvk @HRPufnstuf  In Texas on I-10 marked at 80 mph, the actual 85th percentile speeds under perfect conditions were 81 to 84 mph with only 1.2% at 90 or higher.  It is an absolute myth that people always drive 10 over.  Given a realistic limit, they don't.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

adr5
adr5

@Openminded1 it's too bad that facts don't back up your theory.   When speeds are properly set, you don't get the speed limit plus 10mph.   That's a myth that the ignorant and those who are out to make money wish to perpetuate. 

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@Openminded1 @JamesWalker1 In 1995 when Montana went back to right and proper with no posted limit, the 85th percentile speeds were about 77 mph.  in Germany on unlimited parts of the Autobahn, the 85th percentiles are in the high 90s - with MUCH better driver training and virtually perfect lane discipline.  It is perfectly legal there to go 120 mph, but most people don't because they don't find it safe and comfortable.

We WANT officers to find the occasional person at 103 when the 85th percentile is 82 mph, they are WAY too far above the pattern for the USA.  The way they become targets for enforcement is if the officer is not assigned to be a road tax collector versus the ones at 82 when the limit is under posted at 65 or 70.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

Openminded1
Openminded1

@JamesWalker1 @Openminded1 not a myth james I pulled enough people over in 30 years tell you as a matter of fact along I-10 not in texas but still I10 and found people doing 90 95 even 103 once. Unless you patrol the streets as a police officer i do not think you really know and yours is just studies and theory my experience is first hand. Not everyone is as prudent as you think.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@Openminded1 In rural areas of I-10 in Texas marked at 80, the actual 85th percentile speeds under perfect conditions were 81 to 84 mph with only 1.2% at 90 or higher.  Your theory is simply false.  WHY would most people not drive over the low to mid 80 mph range, even in places where it would be perfectly safe for a competent driver in a modern car to go 100 mph all day?  Simple, most people don't feel safe and comfortable at speeds above the low to mid 80s, so they don't go faster.

It is a total myth that "people will always go 10 over".  With proper 85th percentile posted limits, they don't.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

Openminded1
Openminded1

most people who have a tendency to speed push it to the limit of 10 miles over they feel they will not get a ticket unless they are 11 over. a speed limit set at 80 equates to 90 by most people. The age group that will keep it to 80 to 85 will be the mature driver using cruise control.

JamesWalker1
JamesWalker1

@Openminded1 @JamesWalker1 @OnemoreFakefbpage Current, actual, safe traffic speeds for the 85th percentile on rural freeways in Michigan range from about 78 to 84 mph, so the limit should be set at 80 in those places.

Note that 85th percentile speeds on I-10 in Texas where marked for 80 range from 81 to 84 mph with only 1.2% at 90 or higher. It is a TOTAL myth that people will always drive much faster than posted limits.  Most will comply or be very close to logical and reasonable limits.

I have NO problem with tickets for "speed too fast for conditions".

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

Openminded1
Openminded1

@SteveDoner In most cases the us west has better roads then the east and mid-west. rest of the world again is not apples for apples to do population and density . 75 a good speed limit for cars and no more then 65 for semi"s. 75 equates to 85 90 for most drivers. and 65 for semi equates to 70 75. If we allow 80 85 limits then those numbers will rise to 95 100 plus way do dangerious even for veteran drivers with years of experience. I seen to many deaths at those speeds almost every time above 90

SteveDoner
SteveDoner

Seems to work in the US west and the rest of the world.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@SteveDoner Again some good points, but has a 30 police veteran If I observed a driver doing under 55 in a 70 mile and hour limit, I most likely would pull them over and most state and highway patrol officer in most states would. We have talked about those issues of driving so slow that it impedes traffic and becomes a danger at many state police seminars. The Dan Ryan, the Loop without a doubt lower limits, but even in areas around the north suburbs are to heavily traveled for speeds above 70.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@SteveDoner you must be far north near mchenry county or south close to Indiana for that commute. lucky it is reverse or you would be doing 15 mph if lucky.